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Older Crowd Helping Bandar Eateries Expand

While many of Fifth Avenue’s clubs and bistros in the Gaslamp Quarter cater to Gen X’ers, a pair of Fourth Avenue restaurateurs credit the expansion of their business with focusing on the older boomers.

Behrooz Farahani and his wife, Shokooh, who opened Bandar Restaurant in 1996 and Bandar Grille five years later, are working on a third expansion of the eatery to be called simply Bandar.

Like the other two, the new restaurant will specialize in Persian cuisine. All are on Fourth Avenue north of the Hard Rock Caf & #233;, across from Horton Plaza.

“The older crowd and conventioneers particularly like to come down and dine on Fourth Avenue, because it’s out of the hubbub of Fifth Avenue,” said Shokooh Farahani. “We’re getting calls for large groups and we’re building the new restaurant because we need more space to accommodate them.”

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Behrooz Farahani, who was an architect in his native Tehran, Iran, before immigrating to La Jolla and getting into the restaurant business, designed and plans to do much of the construction on the new venue just as he did on the first two.

“I’m going to something very modern this time in contrast to the more classic motifs of the others,” he said on a recent Sunday as he took down a partition at the rear of the 1,700-square-foot building.

“I’m going to create a ceiling that gives the effect of moving waves,” he added.

Altogether, the three restaurants will have 5,700 square feet of space. By designing and doing much of the renovation himself, Behrooz Farahani expects to shave about $100,000 on a project that could have cost as much as $300,000.

“I’m waiting on getting the final permits for the city so I can tear an opening through this wall to Bandar Grille,” he added. “The permitting process is agonizingly slow.”

The Farahanis leased the historic building nearly a year ago when it became empty. It most recently served as a mini-mart.

Plans are to install a bar in the new Bandar, which is set to open in July, and serve food from the kitchen of Bandar Grille through an opening in a brick wall that divides the two buildings.

To the couple’s knowledge, only one other Gaslamp restaurant has undergone three expansions on one street , Croce’s on Fifth Avenue.

Behrooz Farahani estimates that the overall cost of opening the new Bandar, including fixtures, furnishings, inventory and marketing, will be $300,000. He declined to cite revenues for the business.

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Let The Games Begin:

The guy with the oversized head and undersized clown hat is giving away his stuff.

But maybe he can afford to. First quarter earnings for San Diego-based Jack in the Box Inc. for the period that ended Jan. 23 rose to $25.4 million, or 68 cents a share, compared with $14.4 million, or 39 cents a share, from the like year-ago quarter. First quarter revenue rose to $612.1 million vs. $597.7 in the same quarter a year earlier.

The company’s stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol JBX, closed at $37.71 a share on April 27, down from $38.03 the day before.

In the last 52 weeks, it has sold for as much as $39 a share and as little as $25.85.

Advertising for the eateries’ contest claims that diners have a “one-in-two” chance of becoming “instant winners” when they peel off a game piece from the side of their medium or large drink cups.

Game prizes include a Kawasaki motorcycle, two Jet Skis, and a pair of all-terrain vehicles, as well as a year of travel on Southwest Airlines, Nintendo games, food prizes and gift cards.

So if this is rich guy Jack’s stuff, what’s he doing with a Kawasaki, much less Jet Skis? Where are the game pieces for the limo and the yacht?


Send tourism and hospitality information to Connie Lewis via fax at (858) 571-3628, or by e-mail to clewis@sdbj.com. She may also be reached by phone at (858) 277-6359.

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